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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Opening Shots

First Battle of Manassas

 

— July 21, 1861 6 a.m. —

 
Opening Shots Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 28, 2016
1. Opening Shots Marker
Inscription.  From this ridge, Colonel Nathan G. Evans stood watch over the Stone Bridge, prepared to contest Union efforts to cross Bull Run. His brigade of 1,100 Confederates anchored the left flank of a seven mile defensive line guarding Manassas Junction. At first light on July 21, Federals east of the bridge sent artillery shells screaming overhead. Skirmishers from both sides opened a sporadic musket fire.

After two hours Evans became suspicious; no Federal attack had developed. Soon he received a timely message via signal flag: "Look out for your left! You are turned!" Leaving a detachment here to guard the bridge, Evans shifted the balance of his brigade towards Matthews Hill, one mile to the west. There he hoped to intercept the Union advance and buy time for Confederate reinforcements to reach the field.
 
Erected by Manassas National Battlefield Park, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is July 21, 1861.
 
Location. 38° 49.406′ N, 77° 30.616′ 
Close-up View of Map & Sketch on the "Opening Shots" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 28, 2016
2. Close-up View of Map & Sketch on the "Opening Shots" Marker
Map Caption: "Union commander Irvin McDowell's plan was to out-flank the Confederate left with a swift, coordinated attack via Sudley Ford, while maintaining a diversion at Stone Bridge. Sketch Caption: "The Confederate army established three signal stations to communicate over its defensive line. Soldiers sent coded messages via signal flag, a system known as "wig-wagging." Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that Confederates erected signal towers at these locations.
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W. Marker is near Manassas, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker can be reached from Lee Highway (U.S. 29) one mile east of Lee Highway (U.S. 29), on the left when traveling east. Marker is located along the 1-mile long Stone Bridge Loop Trail. The Stone Bridge is auto tour stop no. 12 on the Manassas National Battlefield Park Driving Tour. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6511 Sudley Rd, Manassas VA 20109, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Opening Shots (a few steps from this marker); 4th South Carolina Infantry (a few steps from this marker); The Van Pelt House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Farm Ford (approx. 0.3 miles away); Union Retreat (approx. 0.4 miles away); Strategic Crossing (approx. 0.4 miles away); Stone Bridge (approx. 0.4 miles away); Robinson House (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
Also see . . .
1. Manassas National Battlefield Park. National Park Service (Submitted on May 13, 2016.) 

2. Old Marker at this Location. This marker replaced an older one at this location titled “Opening Shots" (Submitted on May 13, 2016.) 
 
Open Field near the "Opening Shots" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 28, 2016
3. Open Field near the "Opening Shots" Marker
View of U.S. 29 (Lee Highway) from the "Opening Shots" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, March 28, 2016
4. View of U.S. 29 (Lee Highway) from the "Opening Shots" Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 13, 2016, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 506 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 13, 2016, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 27, 2021